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Friday, November 5, 2010

Thick skin. What makes a good mother?

I ask myself this question a lot lately. When I was in my twenties and had only two little ones, I thought I knew. Good mothers were perfect in every way. Thier children were always well groomed and tidy, their homes were spotless and hyper-organized, they scrapbooked every detail of their precious children's lives, they were patient yet firm and, most of all, they took their kids on endless outings and did endless craft projects with them. I think I maybe achieved one of those things in the first eight years I was a mother — and only for a small window of time.

Now that I have four children and I'm well into my thirties with a demanding career, I've learned that a good mother is one who tries hard to love her children with patience and consistency.

Those "piercings" are merely magnets. Nice, huh?
As my kids have gotten older, I realize that my skin has, out of necessity, become thicker. Some of things are difficult to hear from kids no matter how thick your skin is or how much you've worked on being self assured. Here are just a few:

  • I hate you. (What kid hasn't uttered those words out of anger?)
  • All my friends feel sorry for me because you're so strict. (This one still makes me beam with pride)
  • You're a horrible mother. (yeah, I know)
  • I wish you were different, then I could tell you stuff. (Maybe if I were more like a teenager?)
  • You'd be so much skinnier if you got a tummy tuck (Ouch!  That hurts almost as much as pushing you out after carrying you inside my body for nine months while packing on 70 pounds.)
I'm still the parent. I have a responsibility to respond in a reasonable, mature way.  But, the thought that one woman I met last summer said keeps returning: You're really not a woman until something comes out of your body and steps on your dreams.

3 comments:

  1. Those things do hurt, good thing they came with a lot of positives too. Like when my son says, "Mom I need you" in the middle of the night.

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  2. I don't know if my opinion even matters that much, but as far as I am concerned you are doing a fabulous job and they know you love them, and you care or they wouldn't be pushing the boundaries that way. Those things hurt! words really hurt! Someday when they are past this stage they will appreciate how much you cared and all that you did for them. Girls need their mothers no matter how hard things get. Trust me, if you were emotionally absent like my mother was they would think you didn't even care.

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  3. Kathy, you're right there are a lot of positives about being a mother. They're easier to see when kids are young and haven't learned to sass yet. ;)
    April, your opinion matters and you have a great point. I know my girls will probably have a lot better perspective on things once they get older.

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